|Barked: Thu Nov 15, '12 9:37pm PST |
|Farley, step away a sec from the SA and think of this more from a socialization angle and also about insecurity. These are more the issues.
GSDs of more dubious pedigree can go through intense fear stages, and some American lines....while the import lines spend their later fear imprint cycle ages acting like enraged lunatics.....instead show intense fear.
How open are they to advice, I wonder Hopefully somewhat!
One of the things to advise firstly, is that it is on one hand great and on the other hand terrible that she feels so nurtured within the comfort of her crate. So while of course you don't want to mess with her security blanket...i.e., her crate.....encouraging her to leave it when in fact that may be what she'd prefer would be excellent. One thing they might want to try is to lock the door to the crate, with her outside of it, when they feed her or do anything fun. Before anything groovy....feed time, treat time, play time, walk time and so on....walk over to the crate and lock the door shut. The point being that she sees that. I would cease and desist feeding her in there if that is what they are doing. Obviously, these are just very gentle motions.
Second, continuing on with the crate obsession, this is the sort of dog....given her crate dependency....that may do very well with a "place" command. Let her have her mat, but her HAPPY mat! A special mat that is not down all the time. But when it is food time, out comes the mat and her bowl gets placed there. When they bring home a new toy, out comes the mat. If she likes cuddles....out comes the mat and they can sit on it and snuggle her. Time for a bone, same thing. Each time, the mat is taken from somewhere it is hidden....say a closet. And when she sees the mat, what she will think is "whoa!, something GREAT is coming." Couple this with having her down-stay on the mat. Short intervals first, then extended. They can also have a blanket...like a thick blanket that will really absorb scent....in her crate, and when she is having her down-stay time on the mat, just put her nice smelly blankie on the mat with her, for a reassuring scent. If they then bring the mat and smelly blanket with them to these newer places, she has her spot. Her little slice of familiar place/smell/home.
They also need to work on "comfort obedience," which is to reward her ridiculously for a simple obedience pattern away from home. You can use this for proofing, to take her somewhere new, work the pattern with some insane kind of reward, like a raw slab of liver. Say "it's time to work the pattern!" and do this.
This little girl should be being taken to new places at least three times a week. Do the pattern work there, then bring out her mat and blankie with a bone, have her down on it and stay for five or ten minutes with the owner stepping back and leaving some air space. Then rework the pattern and go home.
Edited by author Thu Nov 15, '12 9:38pm PST
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